"I do not like talking about food but I like food!"
Translation:لا أُحِبّ اَلْكَلام عَن اَلْأَكْل لٰكِنّ أُحِبّ اَلْأَكْل!
Why is it اَلْأَكْل instead of أَكْل? A previous duolingo course taught أَكْل is food with this course following that up teaching اَلْأَكْل is eating. So shouldn't, لا أُحِبّ اَلْكَلام عَن أَكْل لكِنّ أُحِبّ أَكْل, be the correct translation? From what I've learnt in duolingo, the 'correct' translation translates to 'I do not like talking about eating but I like eating!'
This is one of the ambiguities on Duolingo and the unorganized system.
The word الأكل can be used both as "food" and for "eating". However, it is more common (and elaborate) to use الطعام (aT-Ta3ám) for "food" instead. Typically, when we watch cartoons or anything dubbed in standard Arabic, this is kind of a standard.
Now, why it should be definite while in English it is not defined with (THE). This is one of the points of differences between Arabic and English when it comes to translation because the idea of "definition" to a word is different in concept between the two languages. As a thumb rule, "general" aspects in Arabic come defined in a sentence, while it's kind of (just kind of) the opposite to that in English. Maybe a simple example would do:
You might say in English: I love nature. I think the receiver or listener would perceive that you like Nature in general. However, you might as well say I love THE nature. It is acceptable, but the listener or receiver might perceive you are talking about a specific nature; a nature of some specific place that you are already talking about, or the like. Because in English, it is typical to add (THE) to the noun which is "identified" to the speaker and listener (mostly), or let's say something "specific".
In Arabic, things don't go that way. If you are talking about the general concept of "nature" then the noun should be defined in Arabic: أحب الطبيعة (uHibbu L-Tabí3ah). The idea in Arabic is that, since this is a general concept, then definitely everyone knows or should know it, and thus it is defined by its own nature to all listeners. Meanwhile, if you say أحب طبيعة, where (AL) is removed from the noun - this might be translated (word-by-word) as I love nature but in Arabic it is really awkward and has no meaning; The receiver would expect some completion to the sentence after طبيعة to give a sort of specialty or definition to the word, but leaving it without (AL) like that, it has a sense of being afloat with no specific meaning.
Under that light, this is why you some nouns identified in Arabic, but not in English.
Hope this clarifies things.